My story begins on September 1, 1941 in Pampa, Texas, when I was born into the family of Jane and J.T. Stephens and their 7 year old son, James Michael (Mike). I can’t remember much about the early years of my life, but we lived on a farm and around cotton gins and compresses until I was 10 years old.
I started to school at North Spade, Texas on my sixth birthday, much to my utter dismay. I think I cried every day that first year with a stomach ache. Poor Mike, an eighth grader at the time, had to sit by me on the bus every morning with me just crying my eyes out. It is a wonder he likes me even yet! By the time I started to school there had been two more girls added to the family, Peggy Maxine, J years my junior, and Judie Ann, 2 years younger than Peggy.
My growing up years were happy ones. I’m sure Mother and Dad had problems stretching the income to meet the needs of six people. I never thought of our family as being poor because we were so rich in love and support. We were, and still are, a very close family. Mother introduced us to Jesus at a very young age, and she saw to it that we attend church and Sunday School regularly. She filled our home and lives with hospitality, We knew that we could have our friends to visit, to eat, or to sleep over anytime we asked.
When I entered Junior High School, we were living in Lubbock, Texas. Shortly thereafter, I found the man of my life. Well, maybe he found me, I don’t know which, since we lived just across the street from each other. At any rate, we almost wore out the pavement going back and forth across that street!
I graduated from high school one night, and Max and I were married the next night. Talk about happiness, I was delighted to finish school and get married all in one weekend. We had a beautiful wedding at the home of my Uncle Hub and Aunt Juanita, with quite a few of the relatives present. We left the next day for Killeen, Texas where Max was stationed at Ft. Hood.
Just ten and a half months later, we became the parents of a 5 pound, 13 ounce baby girl, Sheri Rene, born at Killeen. I could not believe that God could be so good to me. But, He wasn’t through yet, for eighteen months later we had a son, Preston Max, then two years and three months later came an other daughter, Lori Ann.
Now, we felt like we were ready to stop multiplying our family and start enjoying them. And enjoy them, we have! While they were growing up we went to every ball game, track meet, and any other activity in which one of them was involved. Our house was like Grand Central Station most of the time.
While the kids were in school, I went to college and was awarded both the Bachelor and Master’s degrees. I am present employed by the Quinlan, Texas Independent School District, as assistant principal of an elementary school. I enjoy work ing with kids, and over the years, I have heard many humorous stories from them.
Max is self-employed as a wholesale meat salesman. To say the least, we eat well. His main interests are his family and hunting – deer, elk, antelope, birds – it doesn’t matter what he is hunting.
Sheri is 25 years old, married to Jimmy Chapman, and she is employed by E.Systems, a Government Contract firm in Greenville, Texas. She is working on a degree in computer science at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas. She has 2 stepsons who live in Greenville, and whom we are proud to have as part of our family.
Preston is 24 years old. He is a real estate salesman in Rockwall, Texas. He has attended Texas A & M, and East Texas State University. His big plans include a wedding in March of 1936, and the prospects of selling lots of property. Valerie, Preston’s fiancee, is a teacher in the schools at Mesquite, Texas. She is a sweet, talented girl whom we shall enjoy having in our family.
Lori is 21 years old. She and her husband, Brian Gibson, have given our family worlds of happiness. They live in Greenville, Texas, where Brian is a successful car salesman. Lori is busy being a housewife and mother. Their darling baby girl, Stefani, is six months old. She i-s our first grandchild and the first baby in twenty-one years on both sides of the family. Yes, of course she is spoiled. People can tell you what it is like to be a grandparent, and they can show you a purse full of pictures of their grandchildren, but until you experience it yourself, you won’t understand.
My memories of Grandpa Beaver are vague. I was 3 years old when he died. He came to Lubbock for his eye operation while we were living at North Spade, but I was too young to really know what it was all about, and we didn’t see him very often. However, Granny was a very special part of our family during the 3 years that she outlived him. She was a witty, little woman and a joy to be around. We Stephens children still miss her.
Our lives are so full, with all of our family living close by, we see each other every few days. I just could not ask for anything more. Greetings to all you aunts, Uncles and cousins. The welcome mat is always out at our house.